amazarashi held their first show of the ＜LIVE TOUR2014 “Anta e”＞ on 1/11. In this tour, they will be performing at six venues throughout the country. Starting with the first show in Aichi, they will go on to perform in Fukuoka, Osaka, as well as an additional semi-finale location at Tokyo’s Zepp Divercity, with a finale in Hokkaido. It is that starting opening day which will be covered in this report.
Regardless of the fact that they haven’t had much media exposure since their debut, amazarashi is a band centered on the lone artist Hiromu Akita and has continued to enchant various audiences with their intense, despairing lyrics. In 2013, they participated in their first outdoor festival, performing in band-versus-band style, as well as faced new challenges, such as providing the music for Mika Nakashima’s song. As their music began to penetrate deeper layers, they reached new heights with the release of their new album, “Anta e”, whose title song “Anta e” ranked #1 on the USEN Toiawase Charts for December 2013.
With the start of the New Year, there was the news of amazarashi’s first Music Clip Collection release, foreshadowing the group’s vigor for 2014. The tour, which will bring their newest album “Anta e” to fans all over the country, is an event that fans eagerly awaiting, despite the unfortunate news of the non-participation of keyboardist Toyokawa due to his poor health. ＜amazarashi LIVE TOUR 2014 ”Anta e”＞ finally opened curtain at ZEPP TOKYO on 1/11.
The tickets for the show were completely sold out. The audience that was jam-packed in the venue waited in quiet with excitement and a sense of anticipation before the start of the show. Ten minutes after the scheduled show time, the ambient background music suddenly came to a stop and the lights in the venue went dark, inciting a cheer from the audience. On the other side of the semi-transparent curtain that separated the audience from the stage, the audience could finally see the members’ silhouette.
Their first performance was of the first song on the album “Anta e”, which stands out for its piano playing, titled “Maegaki”. An image of monochrome sand-noise was projected onto the scrim that completely covered the stage, and the lyrics would dizzyingly appear and disappear on the projection. The music and visuals for first song of the album were skillfully synchronized, mimicking a novel in appearance and feel, and transformed the entire stage into the world of amazarashi in a moment’s notice.
Without a single word from the emcee, the band continued on with the performance of “Juvenile”, “Kiseki”, “Tsujitsuma Awase ni Umareta Bokura”, going deeper and deeper into the folds of their created world. Although the performance centered on the songs recorded on their newest album “Anta e”, the group also interchanged songs from past works, starting with “Juvenile” from their previous album, “Hey Mom, It’s Just As You Say”, as well as songs from “Millenarian Happiness Theory”, “One Room Epic”, “0.6”, and “How to Make a Bomb”. The performance of “Kiseki”, included an intense laser show, a first for amazarashi, interlaced with dazzling illumination of dots that they had employed during their previous tour, which dazed the audience.
Continuing on, with a distorted guitar intro, the band resonantly performed the song “Dobunezumi”, from the album “Anta e”, which was composed with a waltz rhythm. The simple and sincere lyrics spelling out a message of, “You can’t stop trusting people, for truly it’s the ultimate bond that exists in this world” resounded deeply in the hearts of every person in the audience. After a rendition of “Natsu o Matteimashita” where the performance was fused with footage from the PV, they flooded the stage with what you could call their true message from the album “Anta e”: the performance of the shocking song, “Tokumei Kinozomu” (“Annonymous By Request”), which Akita announced was “made with all the people who said they like amazarashi, in mind”. As the performance rang out in the lyrics, “I am not your spokesman, no one but yourself can speak for you”, the title “Anonnymous by Request” in Ming font was projected onto the sea of noise, spinning feelings of hope as it dancingly interlaced with the scrim.
Continuing on, they played the title song from their latest album, “Anta e”. A music video made with the technique of turning actual video footage into anime via tracing, featuring Akita himself, was projected during the performance. It was as if the shouting of Akita’s soul washed over the audience, with the lyrics “Hurry up and wipe your tears, let’s blast away our past with laughter,” that focused on the trials of youth in sync with the music video storyline. This album was inspired from Akita himself objectively looking at this song, which was originally written five years ago. “Anta e”, which means “For you” is a message to Akita himself as well as to all those in the audience who are living in a harsh world. The lyrics of this song are straightforward and simple, and this positive and uplifting song of support for those who live a life of desperate struggle, a stark contrast from amazarashi’s usual lyrics that stem from themes of despair. As such, it was no surprise that this performance made the audience’s eyes water.
They then performed a rendition of “Masshirona Sekai“, from the album “One-Room Epic” which is an ode to winter, a seemingly fit performance as the night before the live temperatures hit freezing. On the scrim, there came images of heavy snowfall. Little by little, the footage came into focus to show a large-scale snow dome, which had cute little snowmen walking around inside; the image was very calming. Then came the performance of “Cold-sleep”, also from the “Anta e” album. Images of a heart and an electrocardiogram were projected onto the stage, and the performance went into a display of a futuristic world, unfolding with a looping click-noise combined with piano and strings. The climax was something that sounded like an abstract sort of hip hop with the surge of rhyming words that came in an overwhelming wave. The intense pulsating laser was synergized with the aggressive playing of the band, putting the audience in a state of awe, as if they had just sat through an entire movie.
The show was coming to a close, with the continued play of popular songs like “Karappo no Sora ni Tsubusareru” and “Mudai”, “Chitose Kofukuron”. During the performance of “Mudai” which paints a certain artist’s story of hope and despair, you could hear the sound of a weeping audience under the simple image of an empty frame. Here, for the first time this day, Akita addressed the audience.
“Many things change in life…but I feel like I have to always keep singing this song.”
As he spoke the words, loud cheers and applause erupted from the audience. Slowly playing an acoustic guitar in the center of the stage, Akita shouted out the lyrics, “Even I, who was at my wits end in my room, am able to sing a song like this now, don’t be sad, this is the start line, it starts with our end”. Together with the powerful performance of a band that has built up and grown through all the tours and experiences up until this point, Akita performed the song ”Owari de Hajimari” from their newest album.
As with the opening of the show, monochrome sand noise was projected onto the scrim yet again. Akita, who has felt rejection from the world, is now playing and performing as part of amazarashi. The world of the “Anta e” album, created because he felt that the song he was singing for himself, he could now sing for an outside audience, came to a close. This live, which reenacted all of the songs, finished with a performance of “Atogaki”.
Amidst the vortex of unfading applause, all the members except for Akita went behind the scrim. As silence wrapped the venue, the audience waited yet again in anticipation. Then, all of a sudden, an intense spotlight that came down from the ceiling, centering on a silhouette of Akita, who started singing as he quietly played his acoustic guitar with his fingers.
“It was because the black-tailed gull wept at the pier, that I thought to die…”
For the ending number, Akita himself played and performed the 2013 song, “Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa”, the song by Mika Nakashima for which amazarashi provided the music. The full performance of 16 songs ended with the powerful play of Akita’s emotion-packed rendition of the song, the same Akita that pushed on through trying times with no will to live, to continue to do his best. Akita, whose driving force used to be revenge against the world, was now projecting a gentle warmth to the outside world. There can be no doubt that the audience that packed the venue on this day felt that warmth towards Akita, as they clapped in an unabating standing ovation.
Unlike a usual show, the audience light didn’t come on after the show ended. The amazarashi logo was projected, completely mimicking the ending titles of a movie, with rolling credits to full chorus of the song “Anta e” from their newest album. During that time, not a single person turned their back to leave the venue. As the song ended and the lights came on, once again there was a warm applause that came from the audience, and it was at that point that the audience finally stood to leave. All those present locked away the lingering feelings of this performance in their hearts as they returned to their everyday lives. And in this grand fashion, the first day of ＜amazarashi LIVE TOUR2014 “Anta e”＞ came to a close.
Further, footage from this tour will be included in amazarashi’s first Clip Collection, “Untitled”, as bonus footage, scheduled to go on sale on 3/26.